Straight coffee is always best sipped fresh, but there are a few coffee stouts out there that prove that good brew can last a long time. Our cellar doesn’t boast too many coffee brews, but we rifled around and found our oldest one, a 2009 (!!!) coffee stout all the way from Vermont. We traded it for a fresh Jolly Rodger, a practically perfect version of the style and one of the best beers we’ve sipped this winter (and, y’know, ever). Our tasting notes:
BRING OUT: 2009 Long Trail Coffee Stout
What was once a rich, roasted coffee stout has undoubtedly thinned, flattened and lost some of its luscious body; however, in its place, pronounced sherry and tart cherry notes are showing this beer’s age. What’s remarkably unchanged? Coffee, and not day-after (or 6-year-later) stale coffee, but a fresh coffee taste that has stood the test of time. This beer likely peaked a few years ago, but it still yields a compelling sip today.
LAY DOWN: 2014 Drake’s Jolly Rodger Imperial Coffee Stout
A caveat: You should not just stash this bottle in your cellar; it’s absolutely delicious right now, earning an impressive 99 points from our panel. Thick and silky smooth, this coffee-and-cream-forward brew bares lovely touches of cinnamon and full, smooth chocolate that lasts on the tongue. With a little time, the alcohol warmth will quiet, and more cherry liqueur notes will emerge, adding another level of complexity.